Rev. Baldwin, bi-vocational man

Rev. Bill Baldwin, pastor of two United Church of Christ congregations in Plato and Lester Prairie and a radio host on KDUZ, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his ordination this weekend. Submitted photo

His friends say that the Reverend William Joseph Baldwin has a “Church Halo” in one hand and a radio microphone in the other.  He is a man of many talents and has been bi-vocational all his life.

Rev. Bill Baldwin is the Pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ (UCC) in Plato and Prairie Community Church (UCC) in Lester Prairie.  He is also a Radio Announcer at KUDZ, 1260-AM Radio in Hutchinson. He hosts “Everyday Inspiration,” a 30-minute program of music, spirit and inspiration at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

On Sunday, Sept. 30 during the 10 a.m. worship service at St. Paul’s UCC in Plato, the two UCC congregations will celebrate Rev. Baldwin’s 20th anniversary of his Ministry ordination. At 11:30 a.m., there is a celebration luncheon in the Plato church. The community is welcome to attend Sunday worship and lunch.

Baldwin grew up in White Bear Lake and became interested in radio and TV classes during his senior year in high school. He attended Northwestern College in Roseville and earned an Associate Degree in Radio Broadcasting (1981). During college, he helped start the student radio station, WVOE (which is the “Voice of the Eagles”).

While attending the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Baldwin landed his first big, radio job at WMIN as a radio announcer. He also did some radio sales work. During this time, he gained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech Communications at the University of Minnesota (1983).

Then Baldwin moved to Mason City, Iowa to become the Assistant Station Manager and Program Director at KCMR Radio. He also served as the station’s volunteer coordinator.

Two things happened while Baldwin was in Mason City.  First, he married his wife, Cathy, who is a public school teacher. Two children are part of the Baldwin family: Nick has a 1985 birth date and Abbie was born in 1991.

Second, Baldwin became active in church life and felt a call to church ministry. He started taking seminary classes at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, New Brighton. He completed his theological studies and graduated with a Master of Divinity Degree in June, 1992.

William Baldwin was ordained into the Christian Ministry on Aug. 2, 1992 at Mason City’s First Congregational UCC, the childhood church home of the famous Meredith Willson.

After Ordination, Rev. Baldwin was called to serve two United Church of Christ congregations in Stratford and Marshfield, Wis. He was the Pastor of both UCC churches for four years.

The family moved to St. Louis Park, Minn. where Rev. Baldwin became the youth and family minister at Edina Morningside United Church of Christ in Edina.
Then in 1998, He served as the Interim Minister at First Congregational UCC in Glencoe. This was his introduction to McLeod County in Central Minnesota.

In September of 2001, Rev. Baldwin was called as the Pastor and Teacher of Prairie Community UCC in Lester Prairie.  St. Paul’s UCC, Plato was added to his ministry in January, 2008. Since that time, he has served as the minister of both congregations.

During 2010, Baldwin felt the pull of radio life again. When the community found out that Pastor Baldwin was a radio man, KDUZ Radio, 1260-AM, Hutchinson asked him to host a Sunday radio program.

“Everyday Inspiration” went on the air at 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning, June 6, 2010. The informative, radio show appeals to many people of different Christian expressions. Music is the backbone of the half-hour program — along with some folksy observations, spiritual inspiration, encouraging thoughts, and casual musings.

Whether he is in the church pulpit or behind the radio microphone, Rev. Baldwin loves to work with local people and offers some everyday inspiration and religious faith.

So on Sunday, Sept. 30, the United Church of Christ congregations in Plato and Lester Prairie honor this bi-vocational man. At the Plato UCC Church, they will celebrate Rev. William Baldwin’s 20th year of his ordination anniversary. Community friends are welcome to share in this religious and social gathering. And the radio will be tuned to KDUZ, 1260 AM, so that the local crowd can listen to “Everyday Inspiration.”

A Pork-Chop Dinner is provided by the Plato Lions Club and a free-will offering is appreciated for the food. Call the church (320) 238-2206 or email [email protected] for lunch reservations.

— Article submitted by Rev. Richard Mark